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Screenwriting Help E-Mail (Previous)

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This week's question: 

DcH, I just saw King Kong and, except for the “Jurassic Park moments," I was generally bored.  Do you think it had anything to do with the script?

Ned


This week's Answer: 

"Boring" Through Films

First off, Ned, since you didn’t put quotation marks around King Kong, I must assume you saw the actual creature, and, that being so, I’m surprised that you had time to feel bored at all.  I’m surprised that you’re writing to me.  I’m surprised that you’re still around to be bored or writing or anything else, for that matter.  But let’s assume that you simply made a punctuation error and that you’re referring to the movie.  If that be the case, Ned, I’m not sure exactly what caused your bout of tedium.  And, I must say, I feel for you.  It’s not easy being bored for over three hours at a film.  But you’re not the first who has suffered from THMBS (Three Hour Movie Boredome Syndrome).  This dreaded disease isn’t just a recent one, but was first discovered many, many years ago when Cleopatra was released (I dare anybody to rent the DVD and stay in your chair for the entire time without either falling asleep or out of your chair).  The insidious malignancy was found in other releases (there’s a theory that it’s an actual virus that gets inside and festers in large film canisters holding too much film).  Researchers for the cure of THMBS have discovered that the film does not necessarily have to be three hours long and can be shorter in duration (but, even in those cases, the name of the disease stays the same because it feels like one has watched a film for three hours or longer) Barry Lyndon, Ishtar and Waterworld, have all been said to have fallen prey to THMBS.  Yes, and even 2001 (and especially the other similar films that follow in numeral sequence) has been considered to cause THMBS.  (There have been instances of viewers becoming so numb and out of touch that they’ve started to imitate Hal singing “Daisy” while at the same time moving in slow motion to the back of their TV’s, methodically opening up the back of them and pulling out electrical parts.)

  To avoid THMBS, when choosing a film, be especially suspect of films that...

1.  ...take a long time panning terrains and holding on panoramic scenes so long that you start to think that the film froze.

2.  ...have big, sweeping, melodramatic orchestral soundtracks that you’re far too aware of, and far too early in the film (or the music is written and conducted by John Williams).

3.  ...have too many unnecessary dancing sequences (especially if they are danced by showgirls or actors or really shouldn't be dancing).

4.  ...are shot in New Zealand (it seems that at least one director from that lovely area of the globe has a different concept of time and how much we can take of it, staring at close-ups of sensitive characters staring back at us or a little to the side and upwards at apparently awesome spectacles).

5.  ...star and are produced and/or directed by pop musicians.

6.  ...have too many unnecessary singing sequences.

7.  ...take place in Roman, Egyptian, and/or Biblical times.

8.  ...are directed by “acclaimed” directors who have carte blanche with a studio to make another “acclaimed” film.

9.  ...have too much of one type of substance as its environment (water or desert or too much outer space, etc.)

10. ...have too much to do with heaven (or gates).

  Now, back to your specific question, Ned.  I think I can sum the answer up by paying homage to the end of the last line of dialogue in the original and remake of King Kong (with a slight alteration):

... It was the script that killed the beast.

FADE OUT.

DcH

 


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